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« Bruxelles: Le Vlaams Belang se trompe de Jardin [FR] | Main | LOG 9.11.07 [EN] Gadgets, Belgian Tolerance, Justice and Surrealism. »

LOG 11.11.07 [EN] Belgium and Occidentalism plus Integration

Belgium and it's surrealistic Politics

I kept my promise today: The Belgian analysis from Toto Le Psycho  in French, was published in a Dutch translation on De Lage Landen  and on In Europa Thuis. I am not soft on the Flemish opportunism re Belgium and re - Brussels. The more I think about it, the more I see a typical politician's short-sighted way of dealing with a delicate problem. In spite of my admiration for the artistic ways in which the problem was moved out of the scope of the future government, I worry about the fate of my new adopted hometown, Brussels, that figures as the victim of an overdose of politician's compromises.

Occidentalism as a counterpart to Orientalism: The relativity of Enlightenment

Occidentialism, by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, kept me busy during a good part of the day. An intelligent analysis of the new religious extremism, put into perspective through former upsurges of that kind by the Japanese, the Indians and the Nazis, as well as Stalin. Essentially, the book is three essays, respectively on the hate of the modern city, of commerce and of the Mind of the West (if any). The reasoning underlines Olivier Roy's analysis of todays Muslim extremism as a product of occidentalisation.  The equally very essayistic treatment of the Dialectics of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno (1943) shows, that (Christian) religiosity was a reaction to the Enlightenment of classic times (see also my review of  Paul Veyne's Quand le monde devenait chrétien, here). Consequently, the renaissance and, from the 18th Century, the "second" Enlightenment were in a dialectic sequence, reactions against religiosity, which, in turn, was followed by early 19th century Restauration and disciplining of the people into churches of a new kind, catholic and protestant alike. The late 19th century reaction to this, culminating in Nietzsches prophecies, were submerged in 20th century European utopian reactions, celebrating "people", nation" and, actually in the US: "Family".

The burden of integration rests on the West

Reducing Bin Laden's actions to a desperate answer to Western (or conceived as Western) imperialism ("Globalism"), is very useful and ...: enlightening. Western arrogance provokes, as I saw myself in non-Western countries, a huge amount of frustration and desperate efforts to escape it. There is no Muslim specificity in that. Japanese, Chinese, Bolshevicks and nazis acted the same way. Buruma and Margalit are convincing on that issue.

If they are right, as I believe, the burden of delivering the necessary changes in behavior, rests principally on Western shoulders. "Integration" is a two-way process. Those who have the upper hand, should start it. A diffiocult task, that our politicians are not eager to take up...

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